Shiitake Mushroom and Bok Choy Udon Noodles

Lo Mein

I love Asian-influenced noodle dishes. Lo mein, udon noodles, buckwheat noodles. But I’ve always reserved them for dining out. Why? I can’t make the sauce taste as good as a restaurant. Until now. Well, almost.

There’s a particular udon noodle that my wife and I love. It’s precooked and in the refrigerated section at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. They’re pillowy soft and gigantically thick and work well as a quick stir fry or as a ramen-type ingredient. I’ll take a picture of the packaging next time I pick them up.

While we were there, I also grabbed some shiitake mushrooms and some baby bok choy. I like baby bok choy leaves, but the stalk has never been my favorite. So I came up with a way to make it a bit different this time around.

I trimmed the leaves into bit-sized pieces and gave a pretty fine chiffonade to the stalk, keeping them separate. I sauteed the stalk in some garlic oil until tender and added the mushroom. As soon as the mushrooms released all of their water, I added the udon noodles, the sauce and the leaves of the bok choy, stirring just until hot. This way, the stalk of the bok choy was tender and the leaves still crunchy – the best of both worlds.

The sauce this time around was some kind of crazy concoction of the following: cherry butter (by McCutheon’s), soy sauce, dijon mustard, sweet chili sauce, teriyaki sauce, no chicken base (by Better Than Bouillon), dried ginger and cornstarch. I was on a roll and didn’t measure anything or write it down, and considering I made this over a month ago, the fact that I can remember everything (I hope) I put into it is an accomplishment all on its own. The key was the cherry butter which has a wonderfully complex flavor filled with vanilla and cinnamon. It’s become my favorite jam/jelly and I routinely enjoy it with whatever nut butter I’ve made (walnut was the most recent).

While it was no restaurant-quality, it did relieve some of my fears of being able to duplicate it at home and I can’t wait to try it again.

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